We need five changes in the fifth year of the Rohingya crisis

Over the past four years, the Rohingya refugee crisis has transformed the Cox’s Bazaar Peninsula into several stages. Not only has 3,200 hectares of forest area been converted into 34 camps to house one million Rohingya, but at least 700,000 tons of oil have been collected from the area. As of August 25, 2017, funds for Rohingya refugees have been positively supporting the Cox’s Bazaar economy, and there has been a gradual increase in tensions between the host and refugee communities. Despite many positive stories from refugee camps and the host community, the risk of organized crime, such as human trafficking, remains high.

As we enter the fifth year of the Rohingya crisis, the Bangladeshi government, UN agencies, INGOs, and local and Bangladeshi NGOs must consider five changes.

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First, it is difficult to plan long-term for this crisis, because Rohingya’s repatriation is not the final and only solution as far as Bangladesh is concerned. After several attempts until 2019, repatriation has not yet taken place. Since March 2020, the Covide-19 outbreak has been difficult to repatriate. And since February 2021, the coup and the declaration of a state of emergency in Myanmar are unlikely to happen in the future. Long-term crisis management is misunderstood by stakeholders: Myanmar, Rohingya, humanitarian agencies, international actors, donors and Bangladeshis: Bangladesh is accepting and preparing not only what it expects but also long-term delays. Quality.

But to some extent, long-term planning is needed: for refugee camps and for the region as a whole. For example, although the ongoing refugee crisis has increased dramatically since August 2017, the Inini National Park and Teknaf Wildlife Sanctuary have lost tree cover over the past 30 years. A.D. A satellite imagery published in November 2020 predicted that by 527, an additional 5,100 hectares of forest could be affected by the problem. Based on past losses, future damage, and future forecasts, it is best to choose a landscaping solution for the region’s nature-based solution. This provides not only economic benefits, food security, risk reduction and biodiversity for the Cox Bazaar, but also long-term adaptation to climate change.

Second, such a long-term plan — after all, requires immediate support for Rohingya — money, and much more. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), in 2018-2020, at the beginning of each calendar year, the Bangladeshi government and UN agencies requested an average of $ 980 million from Rohingya humanitarian aid. . These appeals are called Joint Response Plans (JRPs), on which they receive an average of 68 percent each year. In the first eight months of 2021, it earned $ 343 million of the $ 943 million needed. Since 2017, Bangladesh has earned $ 3.38 billion, of which 22 percent were not part of the JPP. So far, we have seen a steady flow of money that has been in danger of declining due to global epidemics and long-term and new humanitarian crises. Bangladesh and its partners need to deal with such a financial crisis and develop a strategy that is reflected in the current and 2022 JRPs. This can be done by identifying and exploring sources that are not financially viable, changing performance modes, reducing costs, and generating resources internally.

Third, we need to involve skilled and talented Rohingya in the income-generating activities in the camps so that they can generate some of the money needed to support them. Bangladesh Since she did not sign the Refugee Convention in 1951 and the Rohingya were not “refugees” but “displaced Myanmar”, they could not be brought into Bangladeshi society. To produce goods (eg, grow vegetables, plant plants and crafts) and services (e.g. manpower in various sectors) and then market the products inside and outside the camp. Rohingya has been involved in a variety of occasional livelihoods in the camps, and the overall approach to this problem and linking it to the market have now been lost. In this way, they can add value to their presence in Bangladesh, gain prestige, reduce the risk of unemployment (such as domestic violence and organized crime) and prepare to return to Myanmar. Such a shift is needed by examining approaches and activities in the 2021 JRP, actively monitoring the epidemic and continuing until the 2022 JRP.

Fourth, in terms of refugee crisis management, we want a transition from the current INGOs to a non-governmental organization in Bangladesh. Under the 2021 JRP, nine UN agencies, 56 Ingo and 69 Bangladeshi NGOs are operating in the Cox Bazaar. A.D. In 2018, these numbers were 12 UN agencies, 69 Ingo and 58 Bangladeshi NGOs. The movement of Bangladeshi experts from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to the Angolans or to UN agencies was commonplace, and it was inevitable in a closed and volatile environment, such as the humanitarian crisis. This and the increase in the participation of Bangladeshi NGOs over the past four years indicates a significant improvement in the capacity of Bangladeshi professionals. In terms of high project management standards, product quality, accountability and transparency, responsiveness and innovation, experts and UN agencies should now be transferred to Bangladesh NGOs for crisis management. So now is the time for the 2022 JRP to facilitate the rapid replacement of INGOs in Bangladesh by NGOs.

Fifth, 140 academic articles on the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh between January 1, 2018 and August 21, 2021, published by Google Scholar. 93 articles were published in the first three years of the crisis (2018-2020), and 47 were published in the first eight months of 2021. This means that researchers in this field are publishing their work 2.3 times faster in recent months. The study mainly focuses on CV-19, mental and other health issues, problem solving, safety and legal aspects, and risk-related and environmental issues. The Bangladeshi government and humanitarian organizations run the camps in Rohingya based on large databases, planned interventions and dynamics. Various agencies, such as the World Food Program (WFP) 2019-2020 Botanical Assessment Report, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) on gender-based violence among refugees, and the UNHCR assessments and studies to improve efficiency. BRAC study on the use of LPG, and the effects of digital platforms used in Rohingya. These findings, by human organizations and academic researchers, should be considered in planning and planning for the 2022 JRP. In this way, the management of the refugee crisis can be transformed from information-based action to knowledge-based work.

When it comes to the Rohingya refugee crisis, uncertainty is the only thing. We must accept this as truth, make changes in our approach, and prepare for another uncertain year.

Dr. Hassan M. Irfanullah is an independent consultant on the environment, climate change and research systems. His Twitter handle is @hmirfanullah

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